Imagine running for your life from a roving pack of flesh-eating zombies through St. Edward’s University campus. Your feet hurt, your body aches and all you want is to stop for a moment to sip some water. If you do stop, you will be chased down by zombies who want nothing more than to raise money for their community service opportunities.
Campus Ministry is collaborating with the Freshman Studies common theme to garner more participants for Miles for a Mission, the fifth-annual on-campus 5k run.
Miles for a Mission, which has been just a normal 5k run for the past few years, is hoping to create a larger sense of community and outreach through the common theme surrounding the freshman class – How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Dystopia and Sustainability.
“We’ve doubled in size in the past five years and need the support of the community to accomplish our goals,” Liza Manjarrez said. Manjarrez is the assistant director of Campus Ministry and current head of the Service Break Experience, SBE, program which consists of Alternative Spring Break, ASB, and International Immersions. These programs will receive the funds earned from the event.
Through ASB, students spend their spring break to travel somewhere in the U.S. to do service for one week. In the International Immersion program, students travel abroad and spend several weeks doing service.
The programs are fairly exclusive, turning away almost one-third of all applicants. Currently, there is a large number of students waiting until later in the year to provide service to communities in need.
One such student, Michael Jones, is not only a participant in ASB, but will be participating in the 5k as one of many zombies that will follow behind runners.
“I’m really very excited to have this opportunity to help,” Jones said. “It’s a great opportunity to have fun and practice for Halloween.”
Campus Ministry not only encourages volunteers to sign up to be zombies, but encourages any runners who participate to come dressed in their favorite Halloween costume.
“We want everyone to come out and have a great time,” Manjarrez said.
Manjarrez also said that the 5k might encounter a few problems concerning campus parking and safety.
“This is a huge endeavor logistically and we are working with the Campus Police Department and Student Life to ensure that everything runs smoothly,” Manjarrez said.
Participants may also be concerned about the fact that a band of zombies will be ambling behind them for almost three miles. Manjarrez says that the zombies are not allowed to make contact of any kind with any runners and will be clearly marked.
“They not only serve as a fun way to encourage the runners to continue, but as a precaution in case anything goes wrong,” Manjarrez said.
The course will consist of 3.2 miles of obstacles, open space and zombies in an erratic and curving course around campus.
“We understand that there may be some participants that may not be able to complete certain challenges,” Manjarrez said. “We will have a person stationed at each obstacle in order to help those who need it.”
Miles for a Mission will be on Oct. 28 starting at 8:30 a.m. and will last until all participants cross the finish line. Those interested can sign up by visiting the Miles for a Mission page under Campus Ministry on the University website. Students must pay a fee of $10 while all other adults pay $20.